The Oldie Literary Lunches have become a venerable institution on the London literary scene since they were first launched in 1996. Held monthly at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, the lunches feature three speakers who each address the audience for ten minutes. A delicious three-course lunch with wine accompanies the talks.

To book tickets call Katherine or Jenny on 01225 42 73 11 between the hours of 9am and 3pm, Monday-Friday. 

Tickets cost £62


Click here to listen in on our previous lunches


Upcoming Lunches


18th August


Pam St Clement on The End of an Earring

As Pat Butcher in Eastenders, St Clement found herself playing a

prostitute, pub landlady and murder witness. In her autobiography

(named for the ostentatious jewellery worn by her character), the

actress recounts her 25-year career in one of Britain’s most avidly

watched soap operas.

Angela Huth on Colouring In

The author of Land Girls was delighted when fellow authoress, Susan

Hill, offered to publish her twelfth novel. The plot of is divulged by

each character in turn, thus revealing more abut themselves and the

events, thus proving that no two people see things the same way, and

that none of us is as we appear.

Ingrid Seward on The Queen's Speech

As royal biographer, editor of Majesty magazine and international commentator,

Ingrid Seward is one of the most reputable and respected writers on the British

royal family. Author of Diana and Sarah HRH The Duchess of York, her most recent

book, The Queen’s Speech, intimately portrays our monarch through her speeches.


15th September


Virginia Nicholson on Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes

The great niece of Virginia Woolf, Nicholson’s histories Singled Out

and Millions Like Us depict the impact of the First and Second World

Wars on women. Perfect Wives moves into the next decade of the

Fifties, ‘a decade when marriage seemed unassailable and femininity

carried the imperative of a life force.’

Richard Davenport-Hines on Universal Man:

The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes

Davenport-Hines, authority on subjects from poet WH Auden to

the Profumo Affair, turns his eye to the twentieth century’s great

economist John Maynard Keynes. By exploring those ‘seven lives’ –

altruist, boy prodigy, official, public man, lover, connoisseur and

envoy – Davenport-Hines shows how Keynes became so influential,

and why he remains so seventy years later.

Matthew Rice on Rice’s Church Primer

Illustrator Rice is the architecture enthusiast behind the lavishly

illustrated Village Buildings of Britain and Rice’s Architectural Primer.

His latest work explains the language of church architecture, from

the restrained Norman style of William the Conqueror to the gilded

excesses of the Baroque, while his ceramic designs for wife

Emma Bridgewater can be found in kitchens across Britain.


24th September



Oliver Kamm on Accidence will Happen:

The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage

As a journalist, Oliver Kamm is used to having his grammar corrected

into incoherence. His latest grammar book provides a welcome antidote

to pedantry, proving that many so-called linguistic ‘rules’ may be

abandoned, and that it is not a crime to wantonly split an infinitive.

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst on The Story of Alice:

Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland. 

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, whose previous works include the exhaustive

biography Becoming Dickens, here explores another Victorian giant of

literature, Lewis Carroll. In the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland’s

publication, Douglas-Fairhurst considers the relationship between the

controversial children’s author and his ‘dream-child’ Alice Liddell.  

Harry Mount on Harry Mount's Odyssey: Ancient

Greece in the Footsteps of Odysseus

Several millennia after the Homeric hero undertook his journey,

Harry Mount – whose Amo, Amas Amat… and All That convinced

readers to ‘put a little Latin in your life’ – followed Odysseus’s epic

trail. His Odyssey recounts his voyage from Troy to the Hellespont,

and shows why Ancient Greece was truly the greatest civilisation.


13th October


Blake Morrison on Shingle Street 

Blake Morrison first won acclaim for his memoir And When Did You Last See Your Father? In his first full–length collection of poems for nearly thirty years, Shingle Street addresses everything from the Suffolk coast to urgent political issues and dear figures of the past.

Loyd Grossman on Benjamin West and the Struggle to be Modern

Conservationist and gastronome Loyd Grossman tells the extraordinary tale of Benjamin West, the celebrated Pennsylvania-born artist of the 18th century who rose through the ranks of British artists to become the second president of the Royal Academy. Most famous for The Death of General Wolfe, West inspired a generation of British and American artists.

Kwasi Kwarteng on War and Gold: A Five–Hundred–Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt 

Historian and politician Kwasi Karteng has frequently been praised for his originality when analysing historical events, particularly for his first book Ghosts of Empire. In his new work, Kwarteng chronicles the fiscal devastation and finally reclamation to which the world has been victim since the sixteenth century.


10th November


Adam Sisman on John le Carré: The Biography

Biographer Adam Sisman turns his hand to John le Carré in his most recent work. Whilst retelling the life of the best–selling author through his traumatic childhood, recruitment in both MI5 and MI6 and his emergence as the master of the espionage novel, Sisman gains exclusive access to much previously unseen information.

Charles Moore on Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume Two: Everything She Wants 

Charles Moore was chosen by Thatcher herself as her biographer of choice before her death. Since then, he has published two comprehensive volumes on the Iron Lady, praised for characterising her childhood as well as her role as Britain’s first female Prime Minister. He will return to Simpsons to talk about volume two.

Stephen Clarke on How the French Won Waterloo – or Think They Did

Stephen Clarke, author of A Thousand years of Annoying the French settled in Paris over a decade ago, and has been sharing his observations of the French ever since. He still has qualms about certain French attitudes, which he puts to paper in his new book How the French Won Waterloo – or Think They Did, painting the French version of Wellington and Blücher’s victory in 1815.


15th December


Paul Willetts on Rendezvous at the Russian Tea Rooms

Paul Willetts, the chronicler of Soho and Fitzrovia, has dug up a spy story as unlikely but as true as Triple Cross, Ben Macintyres best-selling tale of Eddie Chapman. The protagonists include a White Russian Nazi spy and a US embassy code clerk who is also a Soviet agent.

Jonathan Fenby on The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the Present Day

Having spent over a decade as the Reuters bureau chief in Paris, Jonathan Fenby explores the tempestuous history of modern France in his new book The History of Modern France: From the Revolution to the Present Day

Gyles Brandreth on Wordplay

Gyles Brandreth, the star performer of our Christmas lunch who would entertain if he read from Yellow Pages, reveals why he is such a star on Just a Minute: prepare for a  linguistic frenzy of palindromes, mnemonics, malapropos and acronyms.


Books are provided by 


left ad
left ad 2

right ad 2
The Oldie
Noble Caledonia
right ad 1
Fill out your e-mail address
to receive our newsletter!
The Oldie newsletter:
We would like to occasionally share data on a secure basis with carefully selected companies whose products and services we feel may be of interest to you. Please tick if you DO want to receive such information by email:

facebook Find us on...
facebook Find us on...